* I took the YETI Panga whitewater rafting on the Snake River. See below for my review *
Chances are, you know YETI for their virtually indestructible, top-of-the-line coolers.
In fact, their coolers are so highly regarded, owning one has become somewhat of status symbol for outdoor enthusiasts (*cough* I own a Tundra 45 *cough*). And when it comes to insulated drinkware, YETI doens’t disappoint either (I own a few items from their Rambler line).
But today, YETI launched their first piece of non-insulated gear — the YETI Panga, a fully submersible, 100% waterproof, rugged-as-hell duffle bag. And this duffle means business.
Putting The Panga To The Test: Rafting The Snake River
Just over a week ago, ahead of the public launch, I got to put the new YETI Panga to the test on a multi-day whitewater rafting trip on the Snake River (the river that separates Idaho from Washington and Oregon). I spent three days on the river and two nights camping next to it.
The trip also involved traveling with the Panga on several flights, from Los Angeles to Seattle, Seattle to Spokane, and from Spokane to some farm field in eastern Oregon on a tiny, six-seater charter flight (that got us closer to the river). Directly from the rafting trip, I then flew straight to New York City for weekend (bringing the Panga along for the ride), then flew back to Los Angeles.
Based on that experience, this is my YETI Panga review.
YETI Panga Duffle Bag – Essential Details
100% submersible and airtight // 100% waterproof
Hydrolock zipper with U-Dock zipper seal insures water stays out
Abrasion and puncture-resistant ThickSkin exterior shell (made of high-density nylon and thick TPU lamination)
Sturdy, EVA molded bottom (just like YETI’s Hopper coolers, it provides a solid base for laying the bag down anywhere)
Durable, comfortable and removable backpack straps with tough metal hardware (as mentioned above, I traveled back and forth across the country with the Panga and wore it as a backpack while in transit and through various airports)
Several handy lash points (great for grabbing the Panga on the go or tying it down while on a raft or boat)
Interior: two zippered mesh pockets (one on each side)
Also, not a stat, but it just looks damn good
Photos from my rafting trip on the Snake River (above seven photos by Matt Jones/Yeti)
Who Needs One?
If you’re going on a multi-day rafting trip, this duffle will come in really handy.
Anyone going on a multi-day fishing trip, staying on a boat or camping near water (or in the rain) this bag is also for you.
Or, if you just want a tough-as-nails duffle bag for whatever life throws at you, you’ll love the Panga.
Doesn’t Need One?
The duffle is heavy duty, so anyone looking to keep their load ultra light or travel long distances on foot, the Panga is probably not for you (note, however, that the backpack straps are comfortable and offer good support). If you never or rarely travel in harsh conditions, there are better (and cheaper) duffles out there for you — like these.
The Panga comes in three sizes — a 50 liter, a 75 liter and a 100 Liter. All come in one color (shown above).
Which Size Should You Get?
These bags have a surprising amount of space inside, but which size you should choose depends what you need it for.
If you plan on flying with it (and hate checking bags), go with the 50L — it should fit easily into most overhead bins. I traveled with my Panga 50L from Los Angeles to Seattle and from Seattle to Spokane (the latter a smaller region plane) and had no problem getting it on board. Anything bigger than the 50L you’ll have to check.
I packed for my trip (seven days total, three of which were spent on the Snake River) and didn’t have a problem getting my gear into the 50L.
Just as YETI is known for their top-of-the-line products, they’re also known for their top-of-the-line prices. However, talk to any owner of a YETI product and they’ll always tell you they never regretted spending the extra cash. And to any critics out there: Is this bag expensive? Yes. Is it impeccably designed and built? Without a doubt. It’s up to you whether guaranteed quality and peace of mind are worth the price.
50L - $299.99
75L – $349.99
100L – $399.99
After using the Yeti Panga for several days in its natural environment (or one of its natural environments), there’s nothing about this duffle bag I would change. My take: if you can afford it and will actually put it to good use, then why not get one?
Photo Credit: rafting photos as noted by Matt Jones/Yeti. Other photos by Yeti; “Bunch of Yeti Pangas” photo by me